Year 3, Month 9, Day 18: The Ladies Call Me ” ‘lectric Maaaan! “

The Washington Post notes that our grid is not really robust:

BOULDER CITY, NEV. — Drought and rising temperatures are forcing water managers across the country to scramble for ways to produce the same amount of power from the hydroelectric grid with less water, including from behemoths such as the Hoover Dam.

Hydropower is not the only part of the nation’s energy system that appears increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, as low water levels affect coal-fired and nuclear power plants’ operations and impede the passage of coal barges along the Mississippi River.

“We’re trying to manage a changing climate, its impact on water supplies and our ability to generate power, all at once,” said Michael L. Connor, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, the Interior Department’s water-management agency. Producing electricity accounts for at least 40 percent of water use in the United States.

If you plug me in your socket, I’ll charge you like no man can. Sent September 11:

If America really believed in preparing for the future, we’d be scrambling right now to reimagine our crumbling electrical grid, for increasing demand and deteriorating infrastructure, combined with the likely consequences of the next century’s worth of catastrophic climate change, put both the integrity of the system and the safety of the nation at risk.

Our old power distribution system was predicated on the false notion that energy from fossil fuels is cheap and effectively infinite. Once we count externalities like public health and environmental impacts, oil and coal are surprisingly costly — and the double whammy of Peak Oil and a need to reduce greenhouse emissions means they cannot be the energy sources for an American future. It should be obvious: we’re going to have to rebuild the system from the bottom up, focusing on efficiency, flexibility, and decentralization. Doing it now will save us trillions of dollars later.

Warren Senders

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